In this edition, Craig looks at the WWF’s first attempt at a Tuesday PPV, namely ‘This Tuesday in Texas’ from 1991.
Background: The third of December 1991 was the date where the WWF attempted to make Tuesday a secondary night for pay-per-view wrestling. On the back of the finish at Survivor Series and the developing feud between Macho Man Randy Savage and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, the company must have thought they were on to a winner with this event.
The Survivor Series saw The Undertaker dethrone Hulk Hogan as WWF Champion, in controversial circumstances. Ric Flair had slid a chair into the ring and Taker dropped Hogan headfirst onto it with a Tombstone piledriver to win the gold.
As for Savage and Roberts, that started at SummerSlam when Roberts and the Undertaker spoiled the wedding of Savage and Miss Elizabeth and culminated with a snake biting the then retired Savage.
The Show: Well, it says a lot that The Network presentation of a 1991 WWF event has a “viewer discretion” warning before the show. More of that later…
The card kicks off with Intercontinental Champion Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart facing Skinner. For those in attendance, they were treated to five dark matches including a Ric Flair versus Roddy Piper match and appearances from Sir Charles – who would later play Papa Shango, Kama and The Godfather – as well as Chris Chavis, of Tatanka fame.
For those not in the know, Skinner was Steve Keirn, formerly of the Fabulous Ones with Stan Lane. As Skinner, he portrayed an alligator hunter from the Everglades. While the gimmick was a bit naff, Keirn was a very good in-ring worker and a solid heel and this worked very well as a match. This ended up being the first of two good matches on this card. Hart won this 13 minute affair with his Sharpshooter finisher.
The second good match came next as Randy Savage fought Jake Roberts. This feud all started with Roberts calling out the then retired Savage. Savage refused to get involved. Eventually Savage relented and was rewarded with Roberts’ snake biting his arm. A campaign was launched to have him reinstated in order to face Roberts. And here we are.
This was a very short, but very good match. Two excellent story tellers, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Savage won this one with a flying top rope elbow.
The memorably stuff really happened post-match with Roberts slapping Miss Elizabeth across the face. This also featured two of the greatest interviews I’ve ever seen – Roberts’ one pre-match and the one after the match. The slap is what people remember.
Then things began to go downhill… Giving over 12 minutes to The British Bulldog versus The Warlord is a terrible idea. Too much time spent on tests of strength for this to be interesting. Bulldog won with a crucifix, of all things…
El Matador and Virgil versus Ted Dibiase and Repo Man stank. Again they were given over 12 minutes and the finish came when Repo nailed Virgil, allowing Dibiase to pick up the pinfall win.
Then came the main event. On the back of their awful match at Survivor Series 1991, everyone expected more from Hogan and Undertaker. Alas, it wasn’t to be as this was just as bad, if not worse. Hogan barely seemed to care at Survivor Series and he seemed no different here. Ridiculous that he left with the WWF title after throwing ashes in Undertaker’s face before rolling him up to pick up the pinfall.
Aftermath: After back to back controversial finishes between Undertaker and Hogan, on-screen WWF President Jack Tunney held up the world title and declared that whoever won the 1992 Royal Rumble would be the new champion. Randy Savage and Jake Roberts continued their feud for a few more months which culminated in a match at the February 1992 Saturday Night’s Main Event. After that match, which Roberts lost, he tried to attack Miss Elizabeth with a chair but The Undertaker nailed him with a chair leading to their Wrestlemania 8 match-up.
Overall: The card was terrible and made for two poor WWF events in the space of six days. On paper, the WWF must have expected this to be appealing. Hogan v Undertaker rematch, the Macho Man’s first match since Wrestlemania VII and a Bret Hart IC title match. But five matches on a card is pretty poor. Especially when the other two are the British Bulldog versus the Warlord and Ted Dibiase and the Repo Man taking on El Matador and Virgil…
Unfortunately for the WWF, it didn’t appear that the event was even all that appealing to fans. Only 8,000 attended the 90 minute show and the event had a buyrate of 1.0, the equivalent of 400,000 buys.
Considering that the show was only 90 minutes for those that bought it on PPV, it’s even more staggering that they didn’t have Ric Flair versus Roddy Piper on the actual card.
It would be a full 13 years until the WWE tried again with a Tuesday night event. This time viewers were treated to Taboo Tuesday.
You can read all previous ‘Well That Didn’t Work’ pieces here.